Site Selection magazine, a leading economic development pub, this week released its 2010 Top Business Climate Rankings, and Louisiana earned its highest ranking to date — improving to ninth best in the U.S. from 25th in 2009. It is the largest improvement of any state.

Site Selection has been ranking states for 18 years, with scoring based 50 percent on a survey of site selection consultants and corporate executives who make location decisions for major business investment projects and 50 percent on quantitative measures primarily linked to the national Conway Data New Plant Database of new and expanded business facility activity. Louisiana ranked seventh best on the executive survey.

“Louisiana, by moving up to ninth place in the overall Business Climate Ranking and up to seventh place in the Executive Survey Ranking, shows that it has done the hard work of putting together a top-notch economic development team and program,” says Ron Starner, general manager of Conway Data Inc. and Site Selection. “Plus, LED has effectively marketed the state as a destination of choice for businesses. This could not have happened without the solid leadership of Gov. Bobby Jindal and Secretary Stephen Moret and their entire team of high-quality professionals. Leaders at the local and regional levels throughout Louisiana must also be credited for doing amazing work on the ground in local communities.”

“This terrific news is a reflection of Louisiana’s continued economic progress during a difficult national economic period,” says Moret. “Our dramatically improved ranking is in large part the result of recent economic competitiveness improvements in Louisiana, such as business tax cuts, governmental ethics reform, the creation of Louisiana FastStart and our focus on business retention and expansion, as well as our enhanced focus on small business development."

Moret, however, stipulated that the state would likely have climbed higher had the survey been more inclusive of recent projects. “We would have done even better if Site Selection had included all of our project wins from earlier this year. Apparently they inadvertently left out at least several dozen of the major business investment projects that were announced or in progress earlier this year. We expect those projects will be included next time around.”

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